Thousands of people took part in the peaceful acts of civil disobedience called for by the Extinction Rebellion (ER) movement on Monday, as the group staged its largest protest yet, occupying roads across London. Exasperated at the inaction over climate change, Extinction Rebellion have waged a campaign to make ordinary people, above all else, take notice. If mainstream media outlets wouldn’t take notice, they decided to focus on peaceful civil disobedience, drawing the attention of people on the street.
Throughout the week roads have been blocked during rush hour. As part of its Shut Down London! campaign, ER have pitched up tents in Parliament Square, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge and Piccadilly Circus. The protestors intend to stay on location over Easter. The campaign runs until the 29th of April.
Their method of protest – civil disobedience which often directly affects the ordinary public – has drawn criticism. The government’s Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, labelled ER “so-called environmental protestors.” Truss didn’t clarify what, in her view, constituted an actual environmental protestor.
Visiting the Oxford Circus protest on Tuesday, your correspondent thought he met a sizeable number of genuine environmental protestors. All of whom cared deeply for the Earth they live on. Truss’ comments will no doubt embolden the movement, further strengthening their belief that the powers that be are unwilling to act on this issue.
The protest sites have generated something of an atmosphere, with DJs pumping out music and tents designated for teaching onlookers about the campaign and climate change. Guestlist was in attendance for a DJ set, going live on social media. Meanwhile, on the fourth day of protest police officers even got involved, dancing with campaigners into the night, making music requests as they went. Scotland Yard said this conduct was “unacceptable”. They’ve never liked a party.
Guestlist out and about
That wasn’t the last of police involvement, however. On Wednesday 290 protestors were arrested. A number of protestors have now glued themselves to roads, vehicles and even outside Jeremy Corbyn’s house, desperate not to be moved.
ER’s actions have been condemned by many, but in the last few weeks we’ve seen more species go extinct and more climate catastrophes, further evidence of the devastating impact climate change is having on the world. Why shouldn’t a campaign designed to help get this fatal topic into the public discussion be commended and supported?
For more information on Extinction Rebellion and to join the movement, visit here.